HM - 2002
Interview with S. Cinca

Heard from Frodus lately? Probably not outside of a collection of live material or a reissued album. Facing the future and prepared to rock out the world with his latest musical projects, The Cassettes and The Black Sea, Bradley Spitzer dives into the history and future with the man Shelby Cinca.

The Shelby Cinca Interview with Bradley Spitzer

Name? Age? Birthplace?

Shelby Cinca, 26, Bucharest - Romania

It seems as if you are a pretty busy guy with all the projects you balance, what have you been up to lately?

The Cassettes recently did a week of shows up in the Northwest, played around the New England area and also played [some shows] in NJ and NY. The last two shows were diverse: in NJ we did a living room with no microphones for 30 people and the night after that we opened for Dillinger Escape Plan. The shows all went great!

Lately, I've just started recording a new batch of songs for The Cassettes and The Black Sea has been practicing and writing music. I?ve also been doing some design work, which is what I do during the day. Done a new single for Division of Laura Lee, a CD of their old material for Lovitt, and I am working on the layout for the newest Darkest Hour CD (intelligent death metal band from DC).

In many circles you are best known for your work with the now defunct band Frodus. Was that your first serious attempt at making music with other people?

It was indeed. Before that I was just playing in random high school bands doing Rush covers.

How did Frodus come together?

I was playing in a four-piece grunge band in high school called "Limbchip" I was on second guitar. We lost our drummer because he was flakey and it so happened that the singer/guitarist guy worked with (Frodus drummer) Jason Hamacher's mom. Jason's mom suggested Jason for a drummer and then we tried him out after Jason passed along a practice videotape of him playing to us. It was actually really funny because it was a video tape of him playing drums without his shirt - he taped himself so he could critique his playing for some reason thought it was a good way for us to check him out. We thought it was hilarious since it was really random that he gave us the tape.

Consequently, things worked out well when we jammed and we then started to play regularly with Jason. With him in the band the songs started to sound weird since he wouldn't play loafy grunge drums to them. He came from a hardcore/punk background primarily early Revelation Records stuff and Minor Threat, etc. the new songs that were being written were also sounding weird. So one day the singer/guitarist left practice early and just us three jammed and we wrote the first Frodus song (computers (love)). We were really into how it was sounding with just us three and it all seemed to work out since at the next practice the guitarist/singer quit the band to pursue folk music and the remaining three: Shelby Cinca (me), Jason Hamacher, and Jim Cooper became Frodus
(Mark 1). From there we went through many bass player changes and eventually had Nathan Burke join our ranks with whom we wrote the bulk of our later material with.

Since Frodus disbanded you have been able to devote more time and energy to The Cassettes and The Black Sea. Who else is involved with these bands and where do you see them headed?

The Cassettes are just me and my friend, Saadat Awan. The Black Sea is Jason Hamacher, Joe Lally, and I. I see the bands recording and releasing records and playing shows and being active units. The periods of activity will just be a matter of planning and scheduling large chunks of time.

Not only are you involved artistically in music but you also run a design company, The Mind Control. When did you realize and begin to use your visual, artistic talent?

I began to focus my visual skills my senior year in high school when Frodus was starting to put out cassettes. I ended up following a fine art path after that and focusing on graphic design by doing covers for Lovitt Records around the same time.

In your involvement with visual and audible art, how do you see the two mediums coming together as one?

They work together pretty seamlessly when working on record covers or websites for bands. They influence each other really, since also for me personally I tend to think of imagery and theme to focus my musical compositions.

At you released the album "Molotov Cocktail Party" for full download. Where do you see the music industry (both large and small companies) headed as technology continues to grow?

I see things going to more of a downloadable format and CDs going the way of the cassette tape. As much as major labels and the RIAA also tries to fight piracy, people will find ways to circumvent protection on mp3s/CDs. Independent labels will thrive that focus on a community and the bands/ fans knowing that there is that symbiotic relationship that keeps things moving. Majors will become somewhat smaller in their influences and the proliferation of "mega-stars" will soon dwindle since it doesn't cultivate any sort of artist loyalty due to the excess in advertising and excess in lifestyle that is viewed through media outlets.

When can we expect a full Frodus discography? Any hints as to what the packaging will look like?

We have Frodus "f-letter" being re-released next on Magic Bullet Records and then a double CD of early material. The packaging will continue [to be] similar to what we have done with "Radio Activity" and document the beginnings and continuing operations of the Frodus Conglomerate International.

Anything else?

"Unceasing warfare gives rise to its own social conditions which have been similar in all epochs. People enter a permanent state of alertness to ward off attacks. You see the absolute rule of the autocrat. All new things become dangerous frontier districts - new plants, new economic areas to exploit, new ideas or new devices, visitors - everything is suspect. Feudalism takes firm hold, sometimes disguised as a politbureau or similar structure, but always present. Hereditary succession follows the lines of power. The blood of the powerful dominates. The vice regents of heaven their equivalent apportion the wealth. And they know they must control inheritance or slowly let the power melt away." - Frank Herbert